The U.S. carried out airstrikes in Syria Thursday night after a U.S. contractor was killed in a drone attack that wounded five troops and another contractor.
The attack came around 1:38 p.m. at an allied maintenance facility near the city of Hasakah in northeast Syria, the Pentagon said in a statement. The intelligence community has assessed the “one-way unmanned aerial vehicle” that “struck” the maintenance facility originated from Iran.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that President Joe Biden ordered precision airstrikes later that night in eastern Syria targeting “facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).”
“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin said.
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The Pentagon said two of the wounded U.S. service members were being treated on-site, while three others and a contractor were evacuated to allied medical facilities in Iraq. A U.S. official said all are in stable condition, the Washington Post reported.
Two senior U.S. military officials said that the retaliatory U.S. strikes targeted a weapons warehouse, a control building, and an intelligence-gathering site, the New York Times reported.
The U.S. strikes killed eight Iran-backed fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based nonprofit that tracks Syrian conflicts, which cited anonymous sources.
According to the group, the strikes targeted IRGC positions near the cities of Bukamal and Mayadeen, which killed two fighters, as well as an ammunition warehouse in the city of Deir ez-Zor, which killed six. A U.S. official confirmed the strike locations but not casualties, the Times reported.
The IRGC, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group, operates as Iran’s internal militia and its main force for operations beyond its borders.
The House of Representatives recently voted down an effort to force the withdrawal of about 900 troops from Syria. The U.S. has more than 900 service members stationed there and hundreds of additional contractors, according to the New York Times.
The top U.S. general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, visited Syria this month and said that the U.S.’ eight-year-old mission there against ISIS remains “important,” as reported by Reuters.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.